Ford Doesn't Trust Scientific Modeling
Ontario finds itself in the same situation again and again: we don't take prudent steps early on, so we're forced to take extraordinary steps after hospitals are already filling up.
By Ryan McGreal
Posted January 03, 2022 in Blog (Last Updated January 03, 2022)
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has shown again and again that he doesn't trust scientific modelling and can't comprehend exponential growth.
As a result, Ontario finds itself in the same situation again and again: we don't take prudent steps early on, so we're forced to take extraordinary steps after hospitals are already filling up.
We have gone through this macabre dance too many times now. It was maybe understandable in March 2020 when the virus was new and no one really had firsthand experience with how pandemics work.
But he made the exact same set of mistakes again leading up to December 2020, again leading up to April 2021, and now again leading up to January 2022.
In each subsequent case, Ontario's policy response was driven by polling and market-testing instead of following the science. By the time the public demand for action was too overwhelming to ignore, it was already too late to prevent a lot of misery.
Ontario has never taken the steps necessary to really protect seniors, especially in LTC facilities. They still don't have a vaccination mandate for staff and there has been inadequate investment in improving air filtration.
Perhaps worst of all, in mid-2020 the government actually passed a law shielding the owners of private LTC facilities from being able to get sued for negligence. It was a shameless gift to the elders of the Conservative Party who privatized LTCs and then bought into them.
Ontario has never taken the steps necessary to really protect schools. They are only now scrambling to provide N95 masks, they have mostly failed to invest in improving air filtration and they still don't have a school vaccination mandate (for students or teachers).
Even worse, they have now abandoned reporting cases and outbreaks in schools altogether, leaving Public Health agencies, families and staff totally blind when trying to decide what is their best course of action.
Ontario has never taken the steps necessary to really protect workers, especially in lower-paying essential jobs where workers have disproportionately borne the brunt of illness.
Before the pandemic, they rescinded Ontario's already-inadequate law requiring mandatory paid sick leave when they were first elected. This was breathtakingly cynical and short-sighted, as public health experts tried to warn them at the time.
During the pandemic, they resisted reversing course and mandating paid sick leave again until April 2021 when the healthcare system was on the brink of collapse.
The program they ended up launching provides for a pathetic three days of paid leave instead of the two weeks they were told was necessary to protect workers. They budgeted a billion dollars for the program, but it's so stingy that they spent less than one-tenth of that in 2021.
Throughout the pandemic, they have periodically sicced their attack dogs in partisan media with malicious salvos against the public health experts calling them out for their failure to protect vulnerable Ontarians.
It's an utter shame that it has come to this, yet again, with the government scrambling at the last minute to cobble together a set of actions that polls well and makes them look like they're taking things seriously. Ontarians deserve better leadership.